Institute of Production Systems and Logistics Research Finished Projects
WorkCam - Real-time, camera-based ergonomics assessment and action derivation in assembly

WorkCam - Real-time, camera-based ergonomics assessment and action derivation in assembly

Year:  2017
Date:  22-06-17
Funding:  BMWi | IGF | AiF | GVB
Duration:  2017 - 2019
Is Finished:  yes

starting position:

The focus of industrial manufacturing companies is increasingly on ergonomic work design. The reason for this paradigm shift lies in securing the employability of employees in their old age and protecting the young workforce for an ever longer working life. It is not uncommon for employees to incorrectly execute movements at the workplace. As a result of this, the employee's posture is misaligned, work related downtimes or even total incapacity for work occur. This is particularly important for manual activities such as order picking or assembly operations. In addition, ergonomically oriented processes and workplaces can have a positive effect on the cost-effectiveness of production.

In order to identify non-ergonomic movement sequences, it is first necessary to evaluate the ergonomics of process- and workplace-related movement sequences as well as their inherent stress on humans. Based on this, suitable design measures to improve ergonomics can be derived and employees can be informed about their non-ergonomic movement sequences. The design measures enable ergonomic processes and workplaces to be set up. By mirroring the sequence of movements, a learning process can be initiated, which can lead the employee to a correct sequence of movements in the long term.

Most ergonomic evaluation systems use sensors worn on the body[9]. The effort to create them and evaluate the work activities is high. In order to support the system, an ergonomics expert must always be present to evaluate the activities carried out, provide feedback to the test person and subsequently recommend recommendations for action for ergonomic improvement measures, if necessary. This type of ergonomics evaluation is thus time-consuming and time-consuming. Currently, there is no system in the industrial environment that automatically provides information on wrong movement sequences (e. g. in the form of graphical representations and acoustic warning tones) and derives recommendations for appropriate measures to reduce the physiological effects and increase productivity.


The aim of the research project "Real-time capable and camera-based ergonomics evaluation and action derivation in assembly (WorkCam)" is the automated, contactless or camera-based motion detection, analysis and evaluation of employees at their workplaces by means of a 3D measuring technique to be developed. It is also intended to derive recommendations for the improvement of ergonomic movement sequences under real conditions on the basis of the evaluation result. Based on data from a 3D camera, the results are to enable an automated reaction to ergonomic misconduct in the industrial environment (e. g. during order picking or assembly activities) for the first time. The development of this real-time-capable, camera-based ergonomic evaluation system requires the computer-interpretable formalisation of extensive expert knowledge in ergonomics evaluation, which is characterized by many influencing factors. The challenge lies in the systematic identification of faulty movements and suitable countermeasures.


In order to achieve the research objective described above, the requirements for the real-time-capable, camera-based ergonomic evaluation system must first be identified in work package 1 and documented in a requirement specification. In addition, case studies in companies will be defined to identify characteristic application areas, such as the number of manual activities and typical movement patterns. In addition, the criteria for the subsequent validation of the ergonomic evaluation system are determined.

With the aid of a functional structure analysis and a morphological box, work package 2 will be used to design the camera-based ergonomic evaluation system. For this purpose, the information relevant for ergonomics evaluation is brought together and structured.

Work package 3 follows the implementation of the camera-based ergonomic evaluation system. In addition to the design of the user interface, this includes the development of suitable algorithms for human identification in the production environment as well as robust motion tracking and analysis in order to derive recommendations for action.

The validation and optimization of the system takes place under real conditions in work package 4, where test scenarios are to be set up in accordance with the case studies defined in work package 1, in which the validity of the ergonomics evaluation system is checked. The results of the ergonomic evaluation of the system and the applicability itself are evaluated by experts. A user's guide will be prepared to ensure that it is useful at a later date.

Work package 5 includes project management and documentation according to the requirements of the sponsor. Within this framework, interim reports, the final report and various publications are prepared.

cooperation partners:

IPH - Institute for integrated production hannover gGmbH



The IGF project 19343 N of the Forschungsvereinigung Gesellschaft für Verkehrsbetriebswirtschaft und Logistik e. V. (German Transport Management and Logistics Association) (GVB) is funded by the German Federal Ministry of Economics and Energy (BMWi) through the AiF within the framework of the Programme for the Promotion of Joint Industrial Research (IGF) in accordance with a resolution of the German Bundestag.